NSW and W.A. post record rooftop solar installations, as Victoria bounces back

Rooftop solar installations had another record-breaking month in both New South Wales and Western Australia in October, helping the national market to keep up its cracking pace with a total of 252MW of new capacity installed over the course of October.

In the latest monthly market update from solar analysts SunWiz, the data shows that after a slight month-on-month rise in rooftop solar capacity installed nationally, the market remains 38% ahead of the same time last year.

The standouts for October were NSW and W.A., which added 86MW and 30MW of new PV capacity respectively, notching up new monthly highs for each state.

Another standout, but for different reasons, is Victoria which, having only recently come out of Stage 4 restrictions after a second wave of Covid-19 infections, has started “slowly retracking to its initial position,” the report said.

Indeed, Victoria could be set to rebound past its pre-Covid trajectory, with Queensland-based PV wholesaler AC Solar Warehouse reporting that its sales to Victorian retailers have grown by 30 per cent over last year’s record high.

AC Solar Warehouse managing director and co-founder Grant Behrendorff said business had been “hectic from May onwards,” in a statement on Monday.

“Our greatest challenge is making sure we keep up with demand,” he said. “The residential market is the strongest it has ever been.”

Behrendorff’s experience gels with industry predictions that residential solar sales will ultimately be boosted by the Coronavirus, with so many Australian families stuck working from home over the winter months faced with bulging power bills.

In Victoria, where government-mandated lockdowns have been the longest and most strict in Australia, Behrendorff expects to see the release of a lot of “pent-up demand,” as the state makes its way back to Covid normal.

“We have deliberately built up stock levels to prepare for that demand,” he said.

Back to the SunWiz data, the October report shows that residential rooftop solar system sizes stayed steady across the month, with a slight uptick in the 10-15kW segment.

This helped boost the average system size to 8.118kW, which is also a new record, SunWiz said.

In the commercial sector, there was a steady growth in most of the states, which has been the trend since July.

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